Family Medical History- Importance & Relevance

Not everything you get in inheritance is worthy for the keeps. But in case of medical legacy, sometimes you are not left with much choice.

Your family history of diseases plays an important role in mapping your health status. Although family’s medical history is vital for an individual’s health but is not the only decisive factory in acquiring a particular disease.

Family Medical History- Importance & Relevance

Several factors influence one’s overall health & likelihood of developing a disease. Many diseases are found to be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle & environmental reasons. The predominance of one particular factor varies in person to person.

For example, if a father has a particular disease; not necessarily his children are going to get it in their lifetime, but yes, him having it, increases the chances for children as opposed to someone without a similar family history.

Some common diseases that may run in families

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Arthritis
  • Pregnancy losses and birth defects

Probability of inheritance

For some diseases that run in the family, genes may be part of the cause, but there is no clear and definite pattern of inheritance. For example, for a female whose mother or aunt had breast cancer, chances of her getting it can be up to 8 to 10% or for a boy having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles his own risk of getting the same cancer.

Rule of lifestyle and environment

Genes alone should not be blamed to cause a disease. Unhealthy lifestyle habits and environmental factors also play a major part in developing a disease. Dietary habits, weight, physical activity, use of tobacco and alcohol and occupation can increase or decrease one's risk of a disease.

For example, smoking increases the probability of developing a heart disease and cancer.

Is there a way out?

As we know, completely preventing and staying away from this risk factor is not likely. The best possible thing to do is to routinely monitor your body’s status, look out for any abnormalities and pick budding disease early to treat them better.

That is only possible when you go for whole body checkups

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